There were lead changes aplenty as the Chiefs broke the Bills’ hearts in an overtime classic.
Pro Wrestling, the greatest soap opera in sport, is unique in its ability to tell long-term stories over the course of years. At Summer Slam this year a story that has been running since the beginning of 2013 will reach a climax.
It is the story of Dean Ambrose and Seth Rollins: the brothers that went to war.
Act 1 – The Rise
It took three men to break through and bring the WWE to its knees.
Roman Reigns, Seth Rollins and Dean Ambrose, the three wrestlers who made up The Shield.
Reigns, the heavy hitting brawn of the team, Ambrose the wild but dedicated heart and Rollins the calculating architect of the group, the brain behind them.
In 2013 the three men combined together and rose through the company ranks disposing of not only the top wrestlers of the current era: John Cena, CM Punk and Daniel Bryan to name a few, but also legends from previous generations: The New Age Outlaws, Evolution and Even The Undertaker.
In the ring they were unstoppable and by mid 2014 they stood together at the top of the WWE as brothers, brought together in battle, who now had the crowd at their mercy and the competition at their feet.
Act 2 – The Betrayal
A chair-shot to the back spelled the end of the greatest group the modern WWE has known.
With one swift move Seth Rollins destroyed the group he created, taking a chair to Reigns and Ambrose, selling out his brothers to join Triple H and Stephanie McMahon, the power couple that control the WWE locker room.
Rollins, the man who assembled The Shield to take him to the top was done with his brothers. Where else did they have left to go when they had beaten everyone else? Now he was just sharing the success that he wanted for himself and himself alone.
While Reigns, the silent muscle of the group swiftly moved on, Ambrose, the heart, could never let the betrayal of a brother slide.
All through the second half of 2014 and most of 2015 Ambrose chased Rollins, trying but failing to thwart him as The Architect rose up the WWE ladder, winning and holding the WWE World Heavyweight Championship.
Time after time Ambrose faced Rollins and despite his passion and desire, in his rush to dish out justice, the heart of the Shield was always outsmarted and outmaneuvered by the architect.
When Rollins run was finally halted by a knee injury in late 2015 Ambrose was still empty handed, having doled out his share of beatings but never getting the chance to take a lasting victory over Rollins and truly show him the error of his ways.
Act 3 – The Revenge
Dean Ambrose did eventually get to turn the tables though.
In the summer of 2016, Ambrose cashed in a contract for a World Title match straight after the returning Rollins had won the WWE Championship off their former stablemate Roman Reigns.
In an act of ultimate karma Ambrose blindsided Rollins, striking him from behind before he even had the chance to grasp the WWE title.
Ambrose then held on to the championship, winning in a match against both Reigns and Rollins and in the process he denied Rollins the success and status the Architect so craved, the success and status Rollins had given up everything to attain.
Act 4 – The Redemption
Beaten and stripped of all titles Rollins was discarded by his mentor Triple H as a tool past its used by date.
Cast down from his throne Rollins would have to rediscover himself.
At this time, while facing new opponents, he re-formed an old alliance fighting beside former stable-mate Roman Reigns.
A mercenary at heart, Reigns never took Rollins betrayal personally, he understood the decision his teammate had made and never obsessed over it as Ambrose did.
However, fighting beside Reigns gave Rollins a chance to reassess his path; Reigns had fought his way to the top without the leg-ups Rollins had received from Triple H and had ended up equally as successful.
It was as if a fog was lifting from the Architect’s vision.
Finally, when Rollins was targeted by his former mentor Triple H, Rollins was able to fully cast off his former self and embrace a new attitude – No King, No Gods, Only Men, burning down the Triple H’s kingdom with victory over the King of Kings at Wrestlemania.
But there is one final thing left to do before Rollins is completely rehabilitated and his renewal is complete: closure with Ambrose.
Since being betrayed by Rollins, Ambrose has not trusted anyone except himself and Rollins’ initial attempts at reconciliation have been met with skepticism.
A natural loner, Ambrose was always the most invested member of the Shield in the “us v the world” swagger the group projected.
This meant at the time he was the most affected by the betrayal of Rollins, but also that the bond of brotherhood ran deepest and strongest for him even after the group’s split.
A bond that was stretched but not yet broken.
After weeks of Dean trying to ignore and push Seth Rollins away and even after a violent face to face confrontation, on the final WWE Raw before Monday’s big event the two brothers stared each other in the eye and put their fists together in a sign of solidarity.
They have now been joined back together as a team to face the Raw Tag Team Champions at Summerslam.
If the two can unite cohesively they may well rise to the top of the company again and reforge their brotherhood but with the history they share this volatile situation could explode at any moment.
Rollins’ quest for success and status have seen him discard his brother before and Ambrose does not share those ambitions as Rollins does, he fights because he loves the rush and the camaraderie that goes with it.
Should Rollins’ pursuit of these titles push Ambrose into a situation he doesn’t like, don’t expect Ambrose to take things lying down.
Rollins also needs to watch his back, the scars of his betrayal run deep and even though he has turned over a new leaf his brother may just be waiting for a chance to get back at him.
Will they be able to unite together? Will Dean Ambrose this time turn his back on Seth Rollins? What role, if any, will Roman Reigns play?
Summer Slam this Monday will be the time to find out.
And that is the beauty of wrestling, the story keeps going, this weekend they will fight together but somewhere down the line something will happen good or bad and this tale will go on.
Somewhere down the line there will be an Act 5.